Most businesses know the importance of a business plan but it is imperative that they concentrate on creating a marketing plan as this is the activity that is guaranteed to bring sales. A good marketing plan is about winning customers, tactics and tools to achieve your sales targets.
Let me share a marketing plan that will help you get started before we get an expert’s opinion later on in the article:
Analyse your situation
The foremost step to any form of planning or strategy formation is to have a detailed analysis of your condition. This brings about clarity on how to move forward from the present state. Here are some of the questions that will help you make an informed decision and a sound policy.
- What does your product or service aim to solve?
- Are there any limitations to the product and how do you stand apart from your competitors?
- Do you have a clear understanding of your market?
- Is your skill set in your segment of the highest variety?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the company?
- Any new opportunities that company can work upon?
- What are the threats and how do you plan to tackle them?
Your entire marketing plan should revolve around the answers to the above questions.
Defining your target audience
Define and develop the profile of your target audience as narrowly as possible. Remember that this proposal is not only for your potential clients but also for employees, because you want the right mix of workforce as well. When I was creating a digital marketing proposal for a potential client of mine, my target group were the following:
- Senior managers/department heads
- Network engineers
- Aspiring network professionals
Do note that this is a company that helps networking companies automate their business decisions with the help of machine intelligence.
Other objectives the plan aims to achieve
If you don’t know where you want to go with your marketing, then you are as good as a headless chicken running around in circles. Be specific about the primary and secondary objectives that the plan aims to achieve. Is it to increase awareness of your brand or to increase sales by 15% within the next financial quarters? Define them clearly on a piece of paper because this would be the foundation of the actions you are going to take.
Develop your strategies
A good marketing plan will target prospects during all stages of the sales cycle. As for cold prospects - cold-calling, advertising, direct marketing and newspapers PR does the job. Warm prospects are those who have already been a recipient of your marketing efforts. Your best bet with them would be permission-based email, loyalty programs and personal meetings, to name a few.
To know the correct marketing mix, analyze where your potential customers and do not try to be present everywhere mindlessly. After you are done with your marketing plans, sit and review them every quarter or year based on your goals.
Now an expert's take on the matter
Chirag Dodiya is the founder of Milo, a startup that focuses on enabling productive and transparent meeting based on location tracking as a service. Here are his two cents on forming a full-proof and sustainable market plan for upcoming startups.
Building a marketing plan in the current startup scenario has been a little tough. I don’t prefer to go all in and create a detailed plan when you can literally find new opportunities every day to market your product in innovative ways. A two-page strategy works well without going into all the details but make sure you outline the desired strategy considering at what stage you are.
The three-step process I use to build an executable marketing plan is:
- Finding the right market potential: Before initiating a detailed plan in any market, I prefer focusing on knowing if it has enough potential to go all in. Doing a test launch in a controlled or relatively comfortable area is a good way to find the right potential market.
- Tracking the right metrics: Keeping analytics at the forefront to internally and externally monitor the sales/ exposure growth of the startup on every minute detail.
- Improvise and Scale: Once you know which lane of strategy to drift into, you can focus on scaling it bigger. There’s no right way in marketing. What works for you may not work for others.
We use design thinking and growth strategy for personalized marketing channels at every stage to monitor the dynamics of Milo. Writing your marketing plan is the time for you to do high-level thinking, when you should look at the big picture, think hard and prepare the best foot forward to take to up your ante.